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Recovered Midwestern bird soars off endangered species list

(Dave Martin | AP)
Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 10:25 AM CST
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(AP) - Federal officials say a bird called the interior least tern is being dropped from the endangered species list.

The small, fish-eating bird lives along rivers, lakes and wetlands in the Great Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley.

Its numbers plummeted in the late 19th century as its feathers became popular for women’s hats. Later, it was harmed by dam construction and other river engineering.

Conservation efforts have boosted the interior least tern’s numbers in recent decades and its future appears secure. Environmental groups support the decision to remove federal protections but say caution is needed to keep the bird safe.

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